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New York education experts call Trump’s proposed budget cuts ‘irresponsible’ and ‘devastating’

RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post

President Donald Trump’s budget blueprint, unveiled Thursday, drew instant ire from education experts in New York state.

The proposal calls for slashing $9 billion from the U.S. Department of Education, cutting support for teachers’ professional development, after-school and summer programs, and programs designed to help students prepare for college. It would also eliminate the Corporation for National and Community Service, the $1 billion-a-year agency that finances programs run by AmeriCorps serving more than 11,000 schools.

The New York education world had this to say:

New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa and State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia

President Trump’s proposed drastic cut to the U.S. Department of Education’s budget is an irresponsible disregard for vital education programs and would be devastating to New York’s children. The very programs he proposes to cut play a critical role in fostering equity and eliminating the education gap that exists across our nation. Further, eliminating federal funding for library, art, humanities and public broadcasting programs would decimate essential community centers and nonprofit organizations.

The State Education Department receives $3.6 billion in federal funding each year, the vast majority of which is passed on to local school districts. Such substantial, wholesale cuts imperil important local programs. Eliminating widespread funding for after-school programs, community learning centers, teacher preparation, work study and cultural programs is a disservice to New York’s children.

As the state’s education leaders, we will work with our federal representatives to fight for the funding we need to support our students so they can succeed in life. We encourage all of our educational partners to be strong advocates for New York’s kids, and students nationally, and tell Washington, these cuts to vital educational programs are not acceptable.

John King, former U.S. education secretary and New York state education commissioner; current CEO and president of the Education Trust

On the campaign trail and during his first two months in office, President Trump stressed the importance of “getting Americans back to work” and investing in America. Despite this rhetoric, the administration’s “skinny” budget released today would do the opposite.

Cuts to financial aid programs, including draconian cuts to the Pell Grant program, abandoning teacher support and development programs, and an ill-advised (and previously rejected) scheme to divert resources from our highest need schools would move our country backward. They would hurt low-income students trying to pay for college and prepare themselves for the workforce, educators seeking to improve their skills to better serve our nation’s young people, and the very schools responsible for educating our nation’s most vulnerable students.

If this proposal were enacted, all students, particularly students of color and low-income students, throughout the entire continuum of our education system would suffer, as would the nation’s businesses who desperately need a skilled workforce to be successful.

We call on Congress to reject this harmful proposal outright and to truly invest in America’s future by supporting what we know will move our nation forward: ensuring that there are equitable opportunities for all children to learn, that students leave high school prepared for college and career, that school districts and teachers get the resources they need to improve, and that all young people, especially those from low-income families, are supported to go to college and earn a degree. The Education Trust stands ready to assist in that effort.

Evan Stone, co-founder and co-CEO of Educators for Excellence, a teacher advocacy group

The U.S. Department of Education has played a critical role for decades in ensuring that our most vulnerable students — students from low-income families, students of color, students with special needs and English learners — have greater educational opportunity.

It is not enough to say that we value every student in our country; our national budget must reflect these values, so that these proclamations are more than platitudes – they are promises. When we invest in after-school programs, student supports, and increasing college access, we are not wasting our dollars, but investing in our students’ futures and the future of our country. We call on President Trump and Members of Congress to reconsider the many harmful cuts laid out in this budget proposal that will jeopardize students’ success and the long-term economic health of our nation.

Congress created Title I funds as part of the War on Poverty in 1965 to support schools serving significant populations of low-income students. Sending dollars away from schools with the highest concentrations of poverty undermines the very purpose for which Title I was created.

Jasmine Gripper, legislative director, Alliance for Quality Education, a union-backed advocacy group

Trump’s proposed cuts to federal education funding are just the first step in his and Betsy DeVos’s ideological crusade to bring down our public education system. Here in New York, over 90 percent of children attend traditional public schools, and this budget makes clear that they are facing an unprecedented threat from the federal government.

Blocking this plan will require the Republican members in New York’s Congressional delegation to reject this proposal — the well-being of our most vulnerable children is in their hands. It is also essential, in light of Trump’s proposal, that our representatives in the state legislature do the right thing and adequately fund our schools in the forthcoming budget. Now is the moment for our State Senate Republicans to differentiate themselves from the Trump administration’s agenda, and stand up to protect our public schools.

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